Young sailors from across the country have signed-up to take part in a thrilling adventure, taking historic Brixham sailing trawler Leader across Europe.
Come next July dozens of people aged 15 to 25 will be sailing the 1892 vessel at the 2015 Tall Ships Races, joining hundreds of other tall ships from across the world.
Leader will be heading to Belfast where she will race against other vessels to Alesund, in Norway. From there she will head out on a non-competitive ‘cruise-in-company’ voyage with the rest of the fleet along the Norwegian coast to Kristiansand. This will be followed by a second race to Aalborg in Denmark.
This week Trinity Sailing, who operate Leader, welcomed people from across Devon to step on board and have a look around the vessel, speaking to participants from this year’s adventure which took in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.
Jo Coomber, from Yelverton, who was on Leader at the Tall Ships this year, returned to help get the boat ready for the winter refit and spoke to people during the open day.
She said: “It was a fantastic experience to visit other countries and be part of such an amazing event. It’s impossible to pick one favourite thing about the voyage as the overall experience was amazing all-round. There was the race start, the swimming, the beach barbeque in Norway, and the time we spent in Harlingen because of the amazing atmosphere.”
At the 2014 Tall Ships Races Leader won several awards including Best Shanty Singing, and the crew were handed a trophy as she was named Oldest Vessel in the Fleet.
Since their inception in the 1950s, the Tall Ships Races have been a world-class nautical event, attracting young people from all over the world. At each port thousands of local, people and tourists line the harbours and sea fronts to see this amazing spectacle.
Trinity Sailing’s Harry Gottschalk said: “We’ve already had people sign up for next year. The feedback we’ve had from some of the parents of those who joined us this year has been incredible and their loved ones have returned full of confidence and have been completely animated by the experience.
“It’s not just about the sailing, they have crew parties in each of the host ports, big live music performances, a chance to mingle with other like-minded young people from across the globe.”